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COLLECTION Identifier: Mss:724 1834-1977 P412

Penn Central Transportation Corporation records

Overview

The records of the Penn Central Transportation Corporation consist of the corporate records of a number of predecessor and subsidiary railroads leased or operated by the larger corporation. These records include stockholders' and directors' minutes, account books, and stock records. The largest body of records exist for the Norwich & Worcester Railroad and the Boston & Albany Railroad.

Dates

  • 1834-1983

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Materials stored offsite; access requires advance notice. Contact specialcollectionsref@hbs.edu for more information.

Extent

56.75 linear feet (42 cartons, 3 boxes, 68 volumes)

The records of the Penn Central Transportation Corporation consist of the corporate records of a number of predecessor and subsidiary railroads leased or operated by the larger corporation. These records include stockholders' and directors' minutes, account books, and stock records. The largest body of records exist for the Norwich & Worcester Railroad and the Boston & Albany Railroad. Significant among the former railroad's records are an extensive run of correspondence, 1847-1947, maintained by the president, the secretary/treasurer, and the superintendent related to the day-to-day operation of the rail line as well as stockholders' concerns. Also of interest are reports to the Interstate Commerce Commission, 1889-1960. Norwich & Worcester was operated by the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad. Other lines under the NY, NH & H railroad were the Holyoke & Worcester, Providence Terminal Co., South Manchester, New England Transportation Co., the New England Car Co., and Union Freight Railroad. The records of the Boston & Albany Railroad include stockholders' records, 1867-1961, directors' records, 1867-1960, and reports to the Interstate Commerce Commission, 1888-1959. Among the rail lines operated by the Boston & Albany railroad whose records are included in this collection are the Hudson & Boston, Athol & Enfield, Chester & Becket, Pittsfield & North Adams, Spencer, Springfield & Northeastern, Albany & West Stockbridge, Grand Junction, and Ware River.

More current materials, including correspondence and financial records, which document the sale of property and lines prior to the merger and during the reorganization of Penn Central can be found in the records of the New England Transportation Co., 1955-1969 and of the Penn Central Transportation Corporation, 1971-1977.

Biographical / Historical

The Penn Central Transportation Corporation (commonly abbreviated to Penn Central) was formed by the merger in 1968 of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company (1846-1968) and the New York Central Railroad Company (1853-1968).

The Pennsylvania Railroad consisted of 11,000 miles of track from Long Island to Louisville, Chicago, and Detroit. The system encompassed over 800 separate corporations, including rail lines, canals, turnpikes, express companies, trollies, ferries, bridge companies, real estate, office buildings, coal companies, and, in the 1920s, truck and bus lines.

The New York Central Railroad system was similar to Pennsylvania's. The major differences were that its lines only extended as far south as Pennsylvania but provided service as far north as Montreal and Ottawa, Canada.

When the two railroads merged, also absorbing the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad in the process, they created the Penn Central Transportation Company. The new corporation was short lived, declaring bankruptcy on June 21, 1970. The Federal government was actively involved in the reorganization of the railroad, creating on April 1, 1976, the Consolidated Rail Corp. (Conrail) to manage the viable portions of the Penn Central and five smaller northeastern rail lines. Penn Central was reorganized as the general holding company Penn Central Corporation in 1978.

Physical Location

MANU

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The records were donated by the Penn Central Corporation in 1987, following a survey and appraisal conducted by the staff of the Hagley Museum and Library as part of a project funded by the NHPRC. A small addenda was donated by the Hagley Museum and Library in September 2002.

Related Materials

Researchers should note that the following rail lines have individual collections at Baker Library: New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad Company records, Boston & Albany Railroad Co. records and Ware River Railroad Company records which are part of the Boston & Albany Railroad Co. records.

Processing Information

Processed: July 2003 By: Barbara Austen

Processing Information

The collection was received in 55 records cartons and bankers boxes, with 56 loose oversize volumes. The materials were consolidated into 38 cartons and one box. Original folder titles were transferred to new acid-free folders. Loose volumes that could fit into boxes were boxed. Correspondence stored in wooden letter files were transferred to acid-free folders. Soft leather book covers on the oversize volumes were removed due to their poor condition.

Title
Penn Central Transportation Corporation. Penn Central Transportation Corporation Records, 1834-1983
Author
Baker Library
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
und
EAD ID
bak00358

Repository Details

Part of the Baker Library Special Collections, Harvard Business School, Harvard University Repository

Baker Library Special Collections holds unique resources that focus on the evolution of business and industry, as well as the records of the Harvard Business School, documenting the institution's development over the last century. These rich and varied collections support research in a diverse range of fields such as business, economic, social and cultural history as well as the history of science and technology.

Contact:
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